My Vaccinated Son Has Chickenpox – Sort of

02.23.15

My kid has Chickenpox.

Alexander spent the night at a friend’s house Friday and then the day running around with three other boys Saturday so when he was tired and said his throat was feeling scratchy Saturday night there was no reason to be alarmed. When he woke up with a cough and his throat hurting Sunday we just decided to lay low, it’s a cold, right? When he took his shirt off to show me the red spots on his chest I immediately consulted Dr. Google, my stepfather a retired radiologist (basically a pediatrician right?) and a couple of Mom friends. Around here that’s how we practice medicine.

breakthrough chickenpox

I brought him to the pediatrician this morning, thinking that perhaps a home diagnosis might not be sufficient and she confirmed for us a few things:

  • Vaccinated kids sometimes get Breakthrough Chicken Pox. These are very mild cases, not nearly as contagious as a real case and no where near as uncomfortable. In fact Alexander is fever free, many people are.
  • The only way to be 100% certain that this is Breakthrough Chickenpox is with a blood test. If it is Breakthrough Chickenpox he will be better before the test is back from the lab.
  • Breakthrough Varicella (Chickenpox) is no big deal if everyone in the house has a robust immune system. I do not. This bugs me.

He can go back to school when his throat doesn’t hurt and the lesions are scabbed over. So in theory he could go tomorrow but I’m going to give it one more day to be sure no more pox appear.

Of course I called the school to let them know but according to The Hollywood Reporter less than 5% of the students at Alexander’s school aren’t immunized so it’s unlikely that anyone will get terribly ill. Then I got to text the moms whose kids were hanging out with mine this weekend.

Hi all. Sunday morning Alexander woke up feeling a little crummy & then developed some bumps on his chest. The doctor thinks it’s a case of breakthrough chickenpox. It’s very mild because he’s been vaccinated and less contagious because he’s been vaccinated. Everyone else in the house is okay. If your boys don’t have the vaccine you might want to watch them for any sort of bumps or rashes on their torsos. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news (and germs).

Seven sentences with some form of the word vaccine used three times. Why? Because in addition to feeling horrible for my kid I am hopeful that no one else’s kid gets sick and I want them to know that I’ve done everything I can as a mother to make sure my kids don’t have or spread preventable diseases.  The vaccine debate has turned a childhood illness into an act of warfare and I do not intend to get speared behind enemy lines.

I’m grateful that he’s fully immunized because Breakthrough Chickenpox is like a distant cousin of the hell I endured with Chickenpox as a teen. Now here’s hoping it doesn’t spread.

The Taliban Supports the Anti Vaccine Movement… Naturally

06.20.12

Parents in my neighborhood don’t know much about the effects of Polio. Some of our older friend or our parent’s friends might have a slight limp or even a more debilitating one but for the most part Polio is something that’s been gone from the US for a number of decades.

You know what’s back in the US? Whooping Cough. Yeah, Whooping Cough was “that thing” that our parents worried about. It was unheard of in my generation but a group of self-important parents who have decided that Vaccines will give their children autism because of a single fraudulent study that was retracted several years ago (see the shamed researcher here) or perhaps because of anecdotal evidence provided by a Playboy Centerfold.

Interestingly the Taliban is currently not allowing 140,000 children to get the Polio Vaccine. They say they’re doing it because the US had used a physician as a spy and they believe that could happen again. This will likely be considered one of the worst war crimes of our lifetime. Time magazine states, “Using children as medical poker chips is indefensible under any circumstances…”

But wait? What about the parents who choose to not vaccinate in my neighborhood. They’re like local heros… you know… debunking science and all that. They’re so counter culture, they’re pro-kid, they’re like martyrs. What about the kids in Oregon whose parents wanted them on a “different schedule”.

Both Washington and Oregon have seen an increase in pertussis (whooping cough) diagnoses in recent years. In 2002, the Washington State Department of Health reported fewer than 600 cases. During a 2005 outbreak, more than 1,000 cases were reported. The number fell below 300 in 2009, but climbed again to almost 1,000 cases in 2011. So far this year, 2,092 cases have been reported in that state. A similar trend was reported by the Oregon Health Authority: There were fewer than 200 cases in 2002, increasing to more than 600 per year from 2005 to 2007. Pertussis cases dropped to around 100 the following year, and steadily increased to 320 cases in 2011. As of June 2012, 338 cases have been reported in the state of Oregon – almost three times as many as were reported at the same time last year.

— Jessica Stoller-Conrad

Anti Vaxxers what is the matter with your thinking? Is it not enough that you don’t care that your children could become critically ill? Do you really have to put everyone else’s kids at risk? The arrogance is astounding and every time I hear a parent say “I didn’t vaccinate” or “I didn’t vaccinate yet” I think to myself, “There goes a really bad parent.”